FAGCA History 

The Founding of the Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America, Inc.

Just the Facts...

FAGCA was founded January 1, 1976, in Appleton Wisconsin, by Otis and Ferill Jeane Rice.  Four other couples in Ferill's "Adventures in Antiques" class helped form the club and its mission.

The Story of FAGCA's Beginning...

Ferill was a writer and assistant editor of Yesteryear magazine, published at the time in Appleton. She wanted to write an article for the magazine on Jacob Rosenthal, a glass chemist and plant manager responsible for making Chocolate glass at the Indiana Tumbler and Glass Factory. He had also been the first plant manager for the Fenton Art Glass factory. Ferill was not satisfied with writing the article using materials that had already been published, and therefore arranged a trip to Williamstown, West Virginia, to interview Frank Fenton.

While Ferill was talking to Frank and Bill Fenton, Otis took a tour of the factory. He was so interested in the process, in fact, that he turned right around and took a second tour of the factory. On the way home, Ferill insists that the tour was all that Otis talked about. He had been completely fascinated with the process of making glass, including mould making.

For about a year, he insisted that a club should be formed. Finally, he called Frank Fenton, asking, "If we start a club, may we use the Fenton name?" Frank hesitated; he was not sure what the reasons would be for such a venture.

Otis told Frank that while many people collected old Fenton Carnival glass, there was a large group of people who did not know that Fenton made anything other than white hobnail glass. Therefore, education would be a prime reason for starting such a club. Also, since Fenton was still in business, it gave young people and children an opportunity to collect art glass pieces without having to pay the kind of prices that "old" glass often commanded. Frank thought it was a great idea. And that's how we came to be!

The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America office was formerly "Binegar's Superette", then it was "Garber's Grocery" (below). The Fenton factory sat just one block behind the building in Williamstown, WV.